If you have a website that is dependent upon SEO generated traffic to achieve its monthly target rates, it should be noteworthy that Google has been working hard to roll the latest iteration of its Panda updates out into the search engine world.
The release is known as Panda 4.1 and in the words of Google, it is intended to allow the Google search engine to continue to get better at promoting sites that offer quality content.
To be specific about it, the update purportedly adds features that can further identify weak content and penalises those sites, making it easier for sites that have spent time bringing forward strong content to rank higher in the search rankings.
It appears that those sites that provide less than unique content will be graded down. Conversely, offerings that are comprehensive and touch on many aspects of a topic seem to be being promoted.
The improvement in quality, therefore amounts to covering a topic well as increasing the quantity of content (we recommend a minimum of 500 words per page).
The Morning After: Have You Been Affected?
Since the update is already here, if you would like to know how your website has been impacted, if at all, it is a good idea to run a traffic count for the last month and determine whether or not there has been a significant decrease in Google-generated traffic over the past week. If so, you may be one of the 3 to 5 percent of sites that Google says will be affected by the update. If not, you still may want to get more information about Google's overall perception of quality so that your future work is not impacted.
Learning Even More About Quality
Although it is a few years old, the Google blog entry on creating quality websites is one resource that you an use to get a feel for what Google is looking for. Rather than provide concrete rules, they instead focus on consumer intangibles that give website developers and managers a good sense of what their own requirements should be when they are requesting or creating content for a web page.
Unsurprisingly, it isn't that different from what you would demand in the first place, really well-written articles by acknowledged experts that have been edited well and placed on a site that is trustworthy and factual when the content is intended to be non-fiction.
With those thoughts in mind, it should be fairly straightforward to organise your content creation efforts around ensuring that those parameters are met.
One more area that should be addressed when it comes to Google's perception of quality and generating organic Google traffic is the impact of social media shares upon ranking. As it stands, they are credited and so any content strategy that you put together should be holistic in the sense that you should approach your content production as a part publication, part campaign.
Overall, the quality bar should continue to be raised by Google over time in order for your site to be rewarded by their search engine. Those that discuss it now and continue to plan ahead will likely be the most successful in the future.
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